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  • Published: 28 February 2023
  • ISBN: 9781598537437
  • Imprint: Library of America
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 924
  • RRP: $95.00

Norman Mailer: The Naked and the Dead & Selected Letters 1945-1946 (LOA #364)




Nearly universally praised upon publication as an achievement inviting comparison with Tolstoy and Hemingway, Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead is not just a monumental war novel but also a devastating antiwar novel, exposing the primal nature of power through the interplay of a platoon of soldiers on an impossible and ultimately pointless mission on an obscure island in the Pacific during World War II. Written just after the war ended, in the early days of the emerging Cold War, the novel daringly engages with the authoritarian impulses in the American character.

To celebrate and commemorate the centennial of Mailer’s birth and the 75th anniversary of the publication of his unforgettable debut novel, this expanded collector’s edition includes a selection of 23 letters (all but four from Mailer to his first wife, Beatrice) chosen by Mailer biographer J. Michael Lennon that reveals the keen insight and powerful ambition of a brilliant young writer grappling with the challenge of converting the weight of experience into art.

A landmark in the modern literature of war by a still-controversial literary icon

Includes a selection of letters—nine never before published—that reveal the real life roots of one of the greatest American debut novels of the last century

Nearly universally praised upon publication as an achievement inviting comparison with Tolstoy and Hemingway, Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead is not just a monumental war novel but also a devastating antiwar novel, exposing the primal nature of power through the interplay of a platoon of soldiers on an impossible and ultimately pointless mission on an obscure island in the Pacific during World War II. Written just after the war ended, in the early days of the emerging Cold War, the novel daringly engages with the authoritarian impulses in the American character.

To celebrate and commemorate the centennial of Mailer’s birth and the 75th anniversary of the publication of his unforgettable debut novel, this expanded collector’s edition includes a selection of 23 letters (all but four from Mailer to his first wife, Beatrice) chosen by Mailer biographer J. Michael Lennon that reveals the keen insight and powerful ambition of a brilliant young writer grappling with the challenge of converting the weight of experience into art.

  • Published: 28 February 2023
  • ISBN: 9781598537437
  • Imprint: Library of America
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 924
  • RRP: $95.00

About the author

Norman Mailer

Norman Mailer was born in New Jersey in January 1923 and after graduating from Harvard, served in the US army from 1944-1946. His first novel, The Naked and the Dead, was published to immediate critical acclaim in 1948 - and has been hailed as 'the best war novel to emerge from the United States' (Anthony Burgess).

He has subsequently published both fiction and non-fiction and his books include Barbary Shore (1951), Advertisements for Myself (1959), The Presidential Papers (1963), An American Dream (1964), Armies of the Night (1968), Ancient Evenings (1983), and Tough Guys Don't Dance (1983).

The Executioner's Song, first published in 1979, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980 - an award which Mailer has won twice during his writing career.

Norman Mailer was born in 1923 and went to Harvard when he was sixteen. He majored in engineering, but it was while he was at university that he became interested in writing; he published his first story when he was eighteen. After graduating he served during the war in the Philippines with the Twelfth Armoured Cavalry regiment from Texas; those were the years that formed The Naked and the Dead (1948). His other books include Barbary Shore (1951), The Deer Park (1955), Advertisements for Myself (1959), Deaths for the Ladies, a volume of poetry (1962), The Presidential Papers (1963), An American Dream (1964), Why Are We in Vietnam? (1967), The Armies of the Night (1968), Miami and the Siege of Chicago (1968), A Fire on the Moon (1970), The Prisoner of Sex (1971), Marilyn (1973), Some Honourable Men (1976), Genius and Lust - A Journey Through the Writings of Henry Miller (1976), A Transit to Narcissus (1978), The Executioner's Song (1979) and Tough Guys Don't Dance (1983). The Deer Park has been adapted into a play and was successfully profuced off Broadway. He also directed four films.

In 1955 Norman Mailer co-founded the Village Voice, and he was the editor of Dissent from 1952 until 1963. For his part in demonstrations against the war in Vietnam he was gaoled in 1967. He was President of PEN (US chapter) from 1984 to 1986 and was winner of the National Book Award for Arts and Letters in 1969 and of the Pulitzer Prize twice, once in 1969 and again in 1980.

Norman Mailer was married six times and had nine children. He died in November 2007.

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Praise for Norman Mailer: The Naked and the Dead & Selected Letters 1945-1946 (LOA #364)

"Nobody could sleep. When morning came, assault craft would be lowered and a first wave of troops would ride through the surf and charge ashore on the beach and Anopopei. All over the ship, all through the convoy, there was a knowledge that in a few hours some of them were going to be dead."